The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Why North Korea’s Next Nuclear Test Matters

Following the launch of a long-range North Korean missile that flew over Japanese territory, concerns are rising that Pyongyang will soon carry out its seventh nuclear test. Such a provocation would come as part of a cumulative six-month North Korean military campaign that has included dozens of missile tests and increasingly hostile rhetoric aimed at the United States and its allies in the Western Pacific.

Despite that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has long been a nuclear weapons power, there are five reasons that the U.S. government and its Japanese and Korean allies are taking this development seriously.

First, North Korea utilizes its nuclear arms as a shield behind which it can undertake rogue state actions including terrorism. Advances in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities will only heighten Kim Jong-un’s confidence that he can act with impunity.

Second, the nuclear weapons and missile tests serve as a technological resource and source of cash which Pyongyang can provide to other nuclear weapons states (e.g., Iran and Pakistan) that are seeking to improve their own nuclear and ballistic missile technologies.

Third, North Korea secures much of its hard currency cash from overseas criminal enterprises, especially drug sales and counterfeiting operations. These funds then transit China on their way back to the North Koreas nomenklatura. The DPRK’s nuclear threats serve to disincentivize anyone from interfering.

Fourth, Pyongyang sells arms to Russia and Iran, and in return may be securing from Moscow high technology nuclear capabilities such as how to conduct an atmospheric electromagnetic pulse (EMP) type of attack or build a highly accurate missile. For its part, Iran provides both oil and hard currency to support the DPRK regime.

And fifth, North Korea is doing China’s bidding by cleverly keeping the United States and its allies preoccupied in Northwest Asia. As long as North Korea saber-rattles, the United States is unable to devote its full attention and resources to protecting Taiwan.

Read more at National Interest

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.